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Carers UK looks to new technology to improve care services

Carers UK looks to new technology to improve care services
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Carers UK looks to new technology to improve care services

IT | Kirsty Weakley | 26 Mar 2012

Carers UK has launched a new partnership with technology companies to look at ways to improve care services.

The charity has set up 'Connect: Toolkits for Assisted Living' through the government's Technology Strategy Board’s Assisted Living Innovation Platform, which launched in 2007 to support research in health and care technologies. The Connect project will develop a number of new tools and explore how these could be scaled up and delivered.

Tools being tested include:

  • Rallyround - a Microsoft web-based solution that enables carers to set up a network for the people involved in the care of a vulnerable person
  • JabloPhone – a phone which connects a vulnerable person to a care network to provide a response in emergencies
  • Docobo Home Hub – a home telehealth monitoring service for long-term conditions
  • Warm Neighbourhoods - an environment monitoring system providing reassurance

Organisations involved with the partnership will test and scale-up the products. These include Advanced Digital Institute, Building Research Establishment, Docobo, Foundation for Assistive Technologies, HoIP (Health over Internet Protocol), LSE Enterprise, Microsoft, Telecare Services Association and University of Westminster.

Heléna Herklots, chief executive of Carers UK, said: “Families are increasingly struggling to juggle work and family lives, and the potential for technology to support them has not yet been realised.”

Mike Biddle, innovation platform leader from the Technology Strategy Board, said: “By investing in and promoting new technologies we are looking at a triple win - improving health and quality of life; making health and social care services more sustainable and also making the UK a world leader in emerging health and care technology.”

New report calls for taskforce

Carers UK has also published a report, Care and technology in the 21st century, which argues that technology should be used to co-ordinate and deliver care services in the future.

To do this it is calling on the government to set up an independent expert Health and Care Technology Taskforce to bring together government, researchers, developers, businesses, providers, employers, regulators and users.

The report sets out a seven point strategy for action that the taskforce should follow:

  1. Identify the benefits of technology in different areas of government
  2. Gather evidence and carry out research into the benefits
  3. Raise public and professional awareness of new technologies available
  4. Provide advice and information and promotion and marketing of technology to care providers
  5. Collaborate on programmes
  6. Ensure technology solutions are incorporated into current government programmes
  7. Support business start-ups to encourage growth

The government is due to publish a white paper on reforming social care this spring.

 

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